The Master and Margarita

Text by: Joanna Dong  撰文:董一燃

Translated by: Li Bowen  翻譯:李博文

In 2013, on stage was a production that has conquered countless audience with its unmatched darkness and unpredictable magic. It was The Master and Margarita by Complicite.

Established in 1983, the Complicite is dedicated to presenting visual effects and the art of design in a theatrical context. The Master and Margarita, originally a novel of substantial temporal and spatial distances, a great number of characters and multiple storylines is perfect for the style of the performance company. The themes of ethic, romance and religion in parallel structure constructed the whole story. The set of the story was the atheistic Moscow and the holy Jerusalem in the 30s of the 20th century.

Mikhail Bulgakov, lived a life that was turbulent and miserable as many of his peers did. The Master and Margarita was considered his most accomplished work, presenting a world that is only uncanny and utterly strange. In the story, Satan disguised as professor Woland and his retinue come to Moscow to investigate the changes in humanity. Because of his arrival, many strange things happened one after another: a rain of money falling in a theatre, people soaring in the skyˇ In the society there are many evil figures and shady businesses, but also precious love and unmatched talents. The “master” that flees into the asylum and his brave girlfriend Margarita are the sparkles of hope. On the other hand, the story concerns Roman Empire Jewish ruler Pontius Pilate’s trial and execution of Yeshua.




Pontius Pilate is an ambivalent figure. As the ruler of Jerusalem, he is cruel and merciless; as an official, he struggles with himself and is in fact very cowardly. The pressures placed upon him eventually have him made the decision of executing Yeshua. He attempts to redeem himself and be cleaned of his sins, but could not escape the punishment that lasts 1900 years.

The application of multi-media in the production was brilliant. The whole production did not involve any fixed, large-scale scene, but only a handful of simple equipment. The use of projection successfully rendered the shifts of time and space °V for example, in the identification of locations and in the scene where Margarita falls from a building. Light worked efficiently in demarcating the space on stage, motivating movement of trams, generating clashes, constructing interior spaces et cetera. The artist responsible for the stage design was Es Devlin, considered one of the most important designers in UK today. Previously she worked with Lady Gaga, Take That, and many other artists of unique styles. She was also the director of design for the closing ceremony of London Olympics 2012. Her efforts made The Master and Margarita a production full of magic.

Because of its unique narrative, The Master and Margarita has been long celebrated by artists of all forms. Since its publication, there has been at least several dozens of adaptations in film, TV, drama, ballet, and opera.


演出中,多媒體的應用十分出色。整個作品沒有任何固定布景,僅有簡單道具。然而投影應用把時空轉換設計得非常好,集中體現的例子包括地理位置的標定和瑪格麗特的墜樓的場景。光在舞臺空間的分割作用,比如有軌電車的行進,撞擊後的位移,以及黑暗房間用光線建立起來的四壁和房門等等。負責舞臺設計的藝術家艾斯·德夫林(Es Devlin)被挑剔的英國媒體評價為英國現今最重要的設計師之一。曾經合作過雷帝嘎嘎(Lady Gaga), 招待樂隊(Take That)等極具舞臺性格的演出者的演唱會,並且擔任倫敦奧運會閉幕式的設計總監。德夫林的參與,讓這出《大師和瑪格麗特》充滿魔力。



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